How to make cost of living pay rises more ethical

There has been much in the press over the past few months about the richer getting richer and the poor not feeling the benefit of the improving state of the UK economy. I can’t say it surprises me. When the whole world appears to give pay rises in percentage terms, then that’s exactly what will happen. After all, as a friend of mine succinctly put it eons ago “x% of a decent salary is worth something, x% of a very low salary is worth nuts” (no, I’m not quoting verbatim, as it would probably bounce off your firewall anyway). Possibly overstressing the point, but if you compare £100 000 a year to £10 000 a year with a 5% pay rise, that would look like:

£100 000 – £10 000 = £90 000
£105 000 – £10 500 = £94 500

See? Further apart than ever. It’s hardly rocket science, is it? Perhaps I’m naïve, but I have felt for a very long time that there is a pretty straightforward way to handle this. The cost of living rise (performance-based pay rises are a whole different game, subject to its own rules and these could be percentage increases, though there is no real reason they should be that I can see) should be converted to an absolute sum, so everyone can be clearly seen to be getting the same. Even if this sum is only about £500, it would mean those at the bottom of the scale in the above scenario are no worse off by this method. What their bosses have to say about it is, of course, quite another matter and they are the ones making the decision…but that’s why it’s a matter of ethics.

Who would like to give me the case for the opposition?


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